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My letter to the Burbank City Clerk offering to join the recount request

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Burbank City Hall at 275 East Olive Avenue.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Burbank City Hall at 275 East Olive Avenue.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 was full of surprises.  Suddenly, Burbank resident George Marciniw made a run for the hills; just a day after filing a labor intensive and all important recount request with the election watchdog group, Protect California Ballots, at the City Clerk’s Office.

The organization’s founder, Judy Alter, remained true to the cause of reviewing the entire city council run-off to see how the Burbank mail-in ballot system had worked or failed. Alter didn’t bail out or run from this difficult process. It was an extraordinary opportunity to learn some invaluable information about that system. I volunteered to be Marciniw’s replacement. Here’s my letter.

April 21, 2011

Margarita Campos
Burbank City Clerk
275 East Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA  91502

Dear Margarita,

As you know, Burbank resident George Marciniw has withdrawn his name from the request for a recount in the Burbank City Council Election on April 12, 2011. When I became aware of Marciniw’s decision this morning, I offered to take his place as a Burbank resident requesting this recount.

I think this recount will answer a lot of lingering questions about the mail-in ballot system for many voters here in Burbank.

Sincerely yours,



I had read Marciniw’s personal withdrawal letter and was not sure I was required to write a letter to the city clerk. I asked Alter to check with a state official, which she did. By the time the e-mail arrived, however, I had decided to drop off a letter at the City Clerk’s Office.

I’m posting that e-mail from the state official because it contains information about major mistakes that Burbank officials passed onto Judy Alter and George Marciniw.


I cannot give you legal advice. I suggest that any person planning to request a recount read the relevant Elections Code sections carefully and personally take the required  actions.  Please not(e) that “contest” has a distinct legal meaning in the election setting and is not the same thing as a recount, nor is a request for a recount a  “protest.”

Lowell Finley
Chief Counsel
Office of the  Secretary of State
(916) 653-7244
(916) 654-4666  direct


BTW: “Contest” and “Protest” are repeatedly used by the City Clerk’s Office in connection with this recount request — apparently the errors are in the Burbank election code.

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One Response to My letter to the Burbank City Clerk offering to join the recount request

  1. Jim C. Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    Hi Fronnie,

    Burbank has Municipal Code rules for what they call a protest, but state law controls the recount procedures, so Burbank has to follow the state rules on a recount request and not whatever they mean by a protest.

    But it doesn’t matter anyway in this case. There’s no issue here. Until Marciniw formally canceled and withdrew the recount request it was still ongoing, and anyone could join in on it. And– most importantly– he told them in writing to wait until you guys got on board.

    So if the city allowed you and the Muldoons to add your own names to the request without any dispute, on Thursday, then they were validating this extant recount. It had NOT been withdrawn yet. Marciniw may have dropped out later, but as far as the city was concerned the request was still on the books.

    That’s what counts. But the city is now trying to claim– five days later– that the request had been canceled by Marciniw and/or that you couldn’t “substitute” under the law, and that your own petition was now untimely. That is simply not the case, and if it’s their true legal position then they should not have abided by Marciniw’s delay request and allowed you and the Muldoons to join in after Wednesday, or at all. By doing so they easily waived their new claim of denial– which is just something they’ve tried to come up with well after-the-fact to get out of a recount.

    I hope her voter group pursues this recount effort. What Burbank is doing is their standard interference with people’s rights. It’s their regular “so sue me” attitude. And they’ve already shown a bad-faith motive from the beginning by citing ridiculously unjustifiable costs and illegal up-front deposits. The evidence is there that they have been unfairly blocking this recount request from the very beginning.

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